Reversal of Summary Judgment for U.S. Steel on Maritime Claims

OHIO – Edward Shaffer was allegedly exposed to asbestos while working in the boiler room of multiple vessels while serving as a merchant marine employed by the Pittsburgh Steamship Division of U.S. Steel, from 1960 to 1961. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2016 and subsequently filed suit against 23 defendants, including U.S. Steel. That defendant moved for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s third amended complaint addressing the Jones Act and unseaworthiness claims. The motion was granted, and the plaintiff appealed.

The plaintiff asserted three …

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Attempt to Revive MARDOC Cases on Jurisdiction Fails as to all but Four Appellants

OHIO – The plaintiffs in this matter are merchant mariners who originally filed their cases in the Northern District of Ohio. Subsequent to filing, their cases were transferred to multidistrict litigation (MDL). Prior to trial in Pennsylvania, the court dismissed the cases after a finding that the Ohio court lacked personal jurisdiction, and appeal ensued.

By way of background, the merchant mariner cases were in the thousands. Filings began in the 1980s against several ship owners, manufacturers, and suppliers of asbestos products. Their claims were …

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Court Denies Motion to Dismiss Coverage Action, But Grants Colorado River Abstention

OHIO – The William Powell Company, which manufactured asbestos-containing valves and other products, fought a two-front coverage battle with its insurers regarding defense and indemnity for various personal injury cases filed against the company. In Ohio state court, Powell sought a declaratory judgment that it had the right to allocate sums expended to settle various cases, both retrospectively and prospectively. Powell later revised its claims to include breach of contract and a request for money damages. In federal court, Powell filed a lawsuit alleging breach …

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After Multiple Re-Filings Summary Judgment Reversed on Multiple Grounds

OHIO – The decedent Garry Blakely was employed at Aerospace, a division of the defendant Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, which contained sub-divisions that manufactured aircraft brake assemblies. The decedent worked in the wheel and brake division, where he drilled, shaped, and incorporated linings into brake assemblies. Upon his diagnosis of mesothelioma in 2014, the decedent sued multiple defendants, including Goodyear. Goodyear moved for summary judgment on product liability, supplier liability, and premises liability, which the trial court granted in full, but prior to the …

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Orders Dismissing Merchant Mariners’ Claims for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Reversed After Finding of Waiver

OHIO — The appeals for this matter stem from the dismissal of claims filed in the Northern District of Ohio. In 1989 several ship owner defendants moved to dismiss a multitude of merchant mariner claims suits for lack of personal jurisdiction. In sum, the defendants argued that the merchant mariners’ claims for nationwide jurisdiction were invalid. The court found a lack of personal jurisdiction but denied the motions to dismiss and indicated that the court would transfer the cases to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania …

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Summary Judgment Denied to Asbestos Clothing Manufacturer Based on Plaintiff ‘s Contradictory Affidavit

OHIO –The plaintiff Donald MacLachlan brought suit against several defendants including American Optical (AO) alleging he developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos while working at the Weirton Steel plant from 1971-2008. He was deposed in 2015 and also alleged exposure to steam turbines manufactured by General Electric. As for AO, The plaintiff testified that he wore asbestos containing thermal gloves and coats manufactured by that defendant beginning in 1979 while working as a cast house helper. The plaintiff was adamant that the …

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Summary Judgment Granted for Crane Co. in Maritime Action

OHIO — The plaintiff sued Crane Co. and other defendants based upon his alleged exposure to asbestos while serving in the Navy from 1960 to 1967. Crane filed for summary judgment on plaintiff’s maritime law strict liability negligence claims. The court applied the Lindstrom standard. Despite the plaintiff’s urging, the court did not adopt a fact-specific standard with regard to the bare metal defense, instead applying the Sixth Circuit’s bright line rule.

The court found that the plaintiff failed to put forth any evidence of …

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Ohio Defendants Can Force Plaintiffs to Prove That Asbestos Was a Substantial Factor in Lung Cancer With Sufficient Proof of Smoking

OHIO — The Plaintiff Bobby Turner, an occasional cigar smoker, alleged that he developed lung cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos from his work as a drywall finisher between 1962 and 1978. At the outset of his case, Turner did not submit a report per RC 2307.92(c)(1).that showed “diagnosis by a competent medical authority that [he] has primary lung cancer and that exposure to asbestos is a substantial contributing factor to that cancer.” Essentially, Turner took the position that he was not a …

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Weight-of-the-Evidence Standard Used by Plaintiff’s Experts Found to Satisfy Daubert Requirements

OHIO — Defendant Honeywell International filed Motions in limine to Preclude the plaintiff’s Experts Dr. Murray Finkelstein and Dr. Carlos Bedrossian and dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, or, in the alternative, its request for evidentiary hearing. The plaintiffs filed oppositions.

The court determined that both doctors utilized the weight-of-the-evidence standard in formulating their opinions of the case in line with the prescriptions under Daubert.  Additionally, Dr. Finkelstein’s methodology had previously been scrutinized at a Daubert hearing in another jurisdiction and was upheld as valid and …

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Failure to Timely Submit Supplemental Expert Report Leads to Denial of Motion for Leave

DELAWARE — The plaintiff moved for leave to submit a supplemental expert report after a change in substantive Ohio law. The court had previously granted summary judgment in favor of four defendants. Specifically, the defendants argued that summary judgment was proper based on the Ohio Supreme Court’s recent decision in Schwartz which found theories advanced on cumulative exposure as invalid to establish substantial factor causation. In the instant matter, The plaintiffs submitted an expert report from Dr. Ginsberg 8 months prior to the deadline imposed …

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